Less than a month ago, New York deemed conversion therapy an unlawful practice. Perhaps the most startling aspect of this news was the fact that practice still even exists.
Why had New York taken so long to cease a practice that seems rather archaic, medieval, and contrary to popular belief?
In my quest to find answers, I was repulsed to find that conversion therapy, alternatively referred to as reparative therapy, remains legal within an astonishing 41 states and the frequency of its use is expected to climb within the coming years. Yes, you read that right.
Do we not live in the 21st century?
By definition, conversion therapy equates to forcibly changing a gay individuals sexual orientation through psychological and spiritual means. The methodology enacted upon LGBTQ youths bears much resemblance to what you’d expect to see in movies like “A Clockwork Orange.”
Harrowing details described by New York Times’ columnist, Sam Brinton, provide accounts of being bound, electrocuted, and verbally abused while being forced to watch gay porn.This is a testament of the fact that individuals like Brinton have or will have experienced an overtly inhumane practice supported by discredited science.
Professional health organizations such as the American Medical Health Association and the American Psychological Association have outwardly condemned the practice, deeming it detrimental to the emotional and psychological well-being of LGBTQ youths.
Despite efforts of introducing bills that outlaw conversion therapy by states such as Virginia, Arizona, Washington, and Missouri, many roadblocks remain in terms of the utter obliviousness of lawmakers who can’t fathom the existence of its use.
According to The Independent, more than 20,000 minors are expected to undergo such a barbaric practice by a licensed therapist, a priest, or a parent. Within our own country, 700,000 individuals have gone through conversion therapy at some point in their lives, a majority of which had been adolescents.
Coming from a background that was freely accepting of the LGBTQ community, I have never been and might never be scrutinized for my bisexuality. Yet, my exposure to such an accepting community has left me sheltered and is precisely why I have failed to become a better advocate for human rights.
In my mind, it is a commonly held ethic to acknowledge that a person’s sexual orientation should not be placed under any label of mental disorders. We are not a case study, a byproduct of psychological trauma, or a sin one can pray away.
I shouldn’t have to restate what is so overtly obvious. Yet, states like New Hampshire have actively sought to reject a bill seeking to ban conversion therapy.
Though many of our major cities are known for its vibrant LGBTQ communities, I am well aware that hateful ideologies continue to fester against anyone who does not fit the white heterosexual identity and the laws surrounding these practices simply entertain these views.
Ideally, I’d like to witness all 50 states ban this practice within the coming years. Despite the present political climate and its apathy towards the LGBTQ community, I strongly believe that this is something we will see in our lifetime.
Support campaigns such as #BornPerfect that seek to provide legal resources for LGBTQ adolescents, sign petitions that voice your outcry, and educate your peers on the alarming presence of this issue.
This doesn’t require any sort of special status to accomplish, in numbers we have the capacity to make laws happen. It merely takes action. Don’t waste your breath in trying to change the minds of people who are so set in their deranged values when you can change laws that give room for anti-gay rhetoric.